Investigation stresses need to pass Oregon ballot initiative

A new investigation is shedding light onto the wildlife product market in Oregon and underscores the urgency of wildlife trade legislation.

The Save Endangered Animals (SEAO) coalition had undercover investigators pose as buyers of wildlife products at shops throughout Oregon. They found ivory carvings, pangolin scales, manta hides, and other products made from imperiled wildlife.

The investigation found 30 stores selling these items, with ivory being the most popular product. None of the businesses that were offering ivory had any documentation proving the ivory’s age, as required by federal law. In fact, many of the ivory items appeared brand new, which means they were likely made from recently poached elephants.

Demand for wildlife products like ivory is on the rise, and it is driving the slaughter of elephants and many other animals. As many as 35,000 elephants are poached each year for their ivory while more than 1 million pangolins were poached in the last decade for their scales and meat. More than 1,000 rhinos are poached each year due to outsized demand for their horn.

Oregon voters have a chance to make sure these products are taken off of the shelves. Measure 100 would prohibit the sale of products in Oregon that are made from a suite of imperiled wildlife species including elephants rhinos, sea turtles, pangolins, sharks and rays, big cat species like cheetahs, and others.

By passing Measure 100, Oregon would join West Coast neighbors Washington State and California, as well as Hawaii, New York, New Jersey as states that have restricted trade of wildlife products in recent years. At the federal level, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently finalized regulations that all but ban interstate ivory trade.

Here at IFAW, we believe that ivory belongs on elephants, and pangolin scales on pangolins. These amazing creatures should be valued as living, breathing animals, not trinkets. Closing the domestic market for endangered wildlife products in Oregon is one step on the road to ensuring these animals are protected.

--MH

Post a comment

Experts

Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Joseph Okori
Regional Director, Southern Africa and Program Director, Landscape Conservation
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime